|For Immediate Release|
|Thursday, May 14, 1998|
"Spread the Word" Brings 2,000 Books to 400 Students in Lowell
Malden - On Friday, May 15, students at the Washington Elementary School in Lowell are receiving gifts of nearly 2,000 books from students at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Newton, the Martha Jones School in Westwood, and the Highland Elementary School in Pittsfield, as part of the state's Spread the Word program.
Spread the Word is the state's ongoing "kids to kids" book recycling program, which distributes books donated by students who no longer use them to children who need them. For the students at the Washington Elementary School, this means that each child will receive five books to take home and keep for their own.
"Ownership of books is critical for the education of children," said Frank W. Haydu, Commissioner of Education. "Children who own books tend to read them over and over again, memorizing the stories and learning how to follow and identify words on each page."
Spread the Word was initiated in 1995 by then Lt. Governor Paul Cellucci and his wife Jan. It is now coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Education, with support from Governor Cellucci and seven statewide education associations. Barnes & Noble provides book bags for the students.
Recipient schools were identified by a 1996 state survey that indicated an urgent need for book ownership by students. This school year, 26 schools in 12 districts were identified, and donations are coming from schools throughout the state. By June 1998, Spread the Word will have distributed 60,000 books to 12,000 students.
The donor coordinators are Barbara Coffee, Horace Mann School in Newton, (617-552-7403), Kathleen Elcock, Martha Jones School in Westwood, (781-769-9030), and Robert Timmins, Highland Elementary School in Pittsfield, (413-448-9665).